Chinese Netizens Highly Recommend Havel’s New Year Greeting
Each head of state will issue New Year Greetings, although
most New Year greetings hardly impress people.
However, only one New Year’s greeting was reviewed
every year and highly recommended by Chinese netizens.
It was the late former Czechoslovakian President Havel’s
New Year’s greeting in 1990.
Havel himself is a well-known dissident writer.
During the Communist regime, he was sentenced
and repeatedly imprisoned due to several
He was elected as President of the Federal Republic
of Czechoslovakia in the first true democratic election
in December 1989 only 42 days released from prison.
A few days later, he made his famous
1990 New Year Address.
At the beginning of his New Year Greetings, Havel said,
“For forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day
different variations on the same theme: how our country
was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced,
how happy we all were, how we trusted our government,
and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us."
However, Havel said, “I assume you did not propose me
for this office so that I, too, would lie to you."
Havel made it clear that the biggest problem the country
is facing is not an economic problem.
He said: “The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated
We fell morally ill because we became used to saying
something different from what we thought.
We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another,
to care only about ourselves."
Havel dreamed of the country in his New Year Message,
“I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic,
of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just;
in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual
and that therefore holds the hope that the individual
will serve it in turn.."
At end, Havel said: “People, your government
has returned to you!"
Well-known Chinese scholar and cultural critic Wang Xiaoyu
posted on his personal micro-blog, “Havel’s 1990 New Year
message will be reviewed at this time each year.
Time is fast as the era of slow."
This micro-blog received more than 1,000 likes and was
reposted nearly ten thousand times.
It received more than 700 comments.
Some comments were from famous netizens.
A netizen said, “This is a must read New Year’s greeting
for today’s Chinese! Highly recommend!"
Many netizens asked, “People, when will your government
be given back to you?!"
Chinese Democrat Ma Qiang said that mainland netizens
are to get government back from Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) by citing Havel’s New Year message.
The simultaneous old-fashioned CCP New Year Message
and Shanghai stampede incident made more people
lose confidence on the government and society.
Ma Qiang: “It is in fact a criticism of the CCP system.
But in a Chinese environment, it will be dangerous
for any person to stand up and criticize.
So they criticize the current social structure, political and
social ecology by borrowing Havel’s New Year Message."
Democrat Xu Lin believes that the reason we revisit Havel’s
New Year Message is not only because of its good writing,
good content, but also that it reflects the social change
and the people’s awakening.
Democrat Xu Lin: “The situation is getting better and better
based on recent years’ people’s awaking, democratic
movement active degree and influence."
In the New Year message, Havel pointed out that,
“we are all – though naturally to differing extents –
responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery.
None of us is just its victim. We are all also its cocreators."
Heilongjiang Democrat Yu Yunfeng: “So the dictatorship
is the evil regime.
Shouldn’t we have responsibility for it?
Can you just blame it on the political party?
No. In fact, they were just spoiled by Chinese people
on some points."
Yu Yunfeng believed if everyone initially changes their own,
not with evil, does what they can to help protesting social
injustice; the society will change.